Environmental news, in brief

Compiled by Cody Hooks
Posted 7/18/19

Calling Native leaders’ thoughts on climate change — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is part of a group of senators seeking input from American Indian community leaders about the impacts of …

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Environmental news, in brief

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Calling Native leaders’ thoughts on climate change — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is part of a group of senators seeking input from American Indian community leaders about the impacts of climate change.

This outreach effort is meant to help “foster a dialogue with Native communities on potential solutions and responses to this urgent threat,” according to a press release from his office.

“Your voices, stories of current impacts, and ideas for solutions the federal government can take to address the dire impacts of climate change are critical. We welcome your recommendations for federal action that will help provide your communities with the tools necessary to address the harms associated with climate change,” the senators wrote.

The comments are being collected for the Indian Affairs Committee and the Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. Comments from Native community leaders can be sent to Community_Leaders_Feedback@indian.senate.gov.

BLM announces plans to move to Colorado — The former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who left that office tattered by ethics investigations, proposed a reorganization of the Bureau of Land Management last August.

Now, it appears the reorganization is more than an idea.

Most of the agency officials who work in Washington, D.C. have been planned to be relocated to either Colorado or a handful of other states in the West, as reported Tuesday (July 16) in The Hill. The BLM had not released details of the plan as of press time.

If it goes forward, on-the-ground users of public lands in the West could gain even more influence in the agency. However, some argue the reorganization means the agency will lose its influence in the federal government.

“Moving senior BLM leadership would only turn the agency into an afterthought, rather than a core piece of the Interior Department,” said Jennifer Rokala, the executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, a public lands policy group.

Climate, contamination get attention in national defense bill — U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Deborah Haaland, whose district includes Albuquerque, voted on a number of measures related to environmental contamination cleanup and climate change in the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Among the relevant provisions are one that “offers new protections for New Mexican communities who have suffered because of PFOA or PFOS contamination in agricultural lands,” according to a press release from Luján’s office.

Luján also “authored an amendment that provides a congressional apology related to the impact that atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium mining had on the state of New Mexico.”

The bill also required branches of the military to study impacts of climate change and includes a “briefing on efforts and opportunities to reduce expenditures on, and waste from, single-use plastics within the armed forces,” according to Haaland’s office.

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